The French Socialist Party ended a special two-day congress at Dijon in Central France on Sunday (16 May) by unanimously accepting joint candidate lists with the Communist party in next year's municipal elections.
SV Banner "Fede de Paris." over stage PULL BACK TO people in hall where communist festival is to be held
SCU Communist posters (3 shots)
SV Carnations being sold in street
TGV people in park around open air stage
GV INTERIOR hall with decorations and crowds
CU Mitterand speaking
Initials RH/0226 RH/NPJ/JB/0237
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Background: The French Socialist Party ended a special two-day congress at Dijon in Central France on Sunday (16 May) by unanimously accepting joint candidate lists with the Communist party in next year's municipal elections.
The Socialists have been linked with the Communists in an electoral pact since 1972, and they see the municipal elections as a dress rehearsal for the 1978 Parliamentary elections which could give the "union of the left" control of the National Assembly.
The 600 delegates at the weekend Congress agreed that the final details of the association with the Communists and the small left-wing radical party, should be worked out at a summit meeting of the three party leaders next Friday (21 May).
Socialist leader, Francois Mitterand, and the Communist leader, Georges Marchais, will then try to put the delegates' vote into effect, thereby increasing the credibility of the left as a viable alternative to the present Gaullist-dominated Parliament.
M. Mitterand told the Congress that the negotiations on joint lists would not be easy. He said that differences existed, and his supporters should not suppose that Socialism and Communism were the same thing. Nevertheless, Socialist candidates who did not accept the party line on cooperation with the Communists would be expelled from the party, he said.
On the same two days that the Socialists were having their Congress in Dijon, the Communist Party was holding a two-day festival in Paris as part of a recruitment campaign. More than four thousand people attended the festival, and entertainment was provided by some of the top names in French show business. They included rock groups and circus performers.